After a couple of weeks in the doldrums Torchwood hit its stride again this week with a stalwart science fiction story of alien impregnation and carnivorous carnage which, even though it suffered the traditional Torchwood-y plotting problems, still delivered a few shocks and, perhaps more importantly, had a lot of heart.
Let me get my main bugbear out of the way right now. If it was so easy to fix the problem with the singularity (aka sonic) scalpel why all the talk of having to sit Gwen in some great big machine to evacuate the alien foetus. They could have sorted it out in no time and the wedding would have been over before anyone could say inky teeth.
But no, we have to have all that kerfuffle.
So Gwen happens to have been on duty the night before her wedding and immediately before she goes off to her hen night, she’s dispatching an alien shapeshifter who bites her in the process.
The following morning, the day of her wedding, she wakes up pregnant. That’s “full term” pregnant by the way. This is clearly a job for Ianto, who’s given the most important task of all: fetch Gwen a new, larger, wedding dress. Unfortunately for Gwen having the wrong size of dress is the least of her worries. Owen’s autopsy of the shapeshifter has revealed it to be a Nostrovite, a carnivore that hunts in pairs and mates for life. They have an unusual reproductive pattern involving the female passing fertilised eggs on to the male, who then transfers them via a bite to a host for incubation. The female later tracks down the host and tears their body apart to free the offspring. Jack and the team realise the mother must still be out there looking for Gwen.
After several predictable shifts of shape, preceded by a gobbling scene that will give me nightmares for at least the next three weeks, Mrs. Shifter is topped, the foetus is removed (by a heroic Rhys) and the wedding goes ahead.
The line between a credible and an incredible story may be a thin one, and Torchwood seems doomed to cross and recross it during the life of a series, but tonight it remained on the right side of the line and delivered an exciting yarn with some really good performances from the team. OK it was perhaps a bit corny in places, but in other places it was heartwarming and once again the scenes between Eve Myles and Kai Owen stole the show. There is a definite spark between these two that sets their moments apart. There was some real seat-of-the-pants scary moments too. Overall I’d rate this one of the best episodes of the second series so far, and if the trailer is anything to go by, next week’s is looking good too.Join TVScoop on Facebook for exclusive competitions and gossip